Thursday, January 1, 2009

I Will Hold You

I'm not a New Year's resolution girl. As a matter of fact, I'm not a New Year's girl at all.

I used to be... I'm a social person and loved to celebrate with the best of them... but a few years ago, when getting 'out and about' was replaced with 'in and alone' New Year's started feeling a lot different. There were two years in a row when I had pneumonia over the holiday, one of which I was in the hospital and another when I had home nursing come to me. Last year I held the pneumonia off until the end of January, but New Year's was still a no-go because of pain.

Now, there are lots of holidays I miss out on or things I can't go to... but this is the only holiday I used to dread. (And by 'used to' I mean before writing this tonight.) It's the time of year everyone looks back over the past and forward to the new year with hope and resolve. That doesn't work for me. Looking back to see how my health has declined isn't fun. Looking forward and imagining what might come is worse. And making resolutions and plans is simply setting myself up for failure. It just doesn't work for me.

Last year, I decided to participate in Ali Edwards' One Little Word challenge ... to pick a word that you would use as your touch point for the year. A word that you would come back to in order to keep yourself in focus and moving forward. I liked that a lot... the idea of centering myself without creating unrealistic expectations.

Kind of.

I chose a bit of a loaded word: Maintain. The idea was that I was not going to push myself too hard, not entertain the idea of travel, not push myself beyond limitations that I know will lead to more pain and probably illness. That was big for me because, in case you haven't noticed yet, I can be a little stubborn and a smidge anal retentive. And when I get stubborn or anal I push myself harder than I should.

Well, it was a great idea... but part of that maintaining had me assuming that if I behaved and did things as I should I would maintain my health... not get sicker... not have setbacks. See why it was a loaded word? Because I look back on the last year and I most certainly did not physically maintain.

But from another view, one that I didn't intend, I maintained very well. I maintained my spirit, my outlook, my intentions. I maintained this blog and established friendships and purpose and meaning. I maintained mentally and spiritually because I showed up every day and spoke my truth to all of you... which in turn spoke to myself in a way I hadn't realized I needed. So despite the physical stuff, I'm calling 2008 successful. Thanks to all of you.

This is a treasured Christmas gift I got from my friend Susie this year:IMG_0820
[for all of you asking for a recent photo of me... that's my hand. :) ]

I love it. I mean really love it. She said she got it for those times when things aren't good and she doesn't know what to do or say. I love it because it's something I can hold onto, something to ground me physically and remind me emotionally and spiritually that I'm never alone. I also love it because it represents something that I've been wanting to do more of... reading the Bible. You'd think after 12 years of Catholic schooling (which I loved and am grateful for) I would have done a lot of that. Now let me tell you, I can recite prayers like no one's business, but I can't recite scripture verses or call to mind stories or lessons from the Bible the way I'd like to.

Which is why my word for this coming year is going to be Devotion. I'm going to focus on being more devoted to studying and learning, and also staying focused on devotion to others. Devoted to all of you here, to people in my life who need encouragement or attention, devotion to others as a way to live out the gospels I'll be reading.

And, of course, I'll be devoted to taking photos like this one of the posing pooch:


What about all of you? Have you made resolutions? Are you choosing a word to keep yourself focused? Tell me how you see the new year shaping you...


  1. I stayed in tonight. When the ball dropped, I was actually playing fetch with my roommate's cat. She, apparently, has resolved to act more like a dog in 2009.

    I don't have any resolutions right now. Odd as it may sound, January 1st has never really felt like the start of a new year to me. It just feels like the middle of winter. Because I am always in school, my new year feels like it starts in late August.

    On an unrelated note, I left a quote on my blog tonight (top right corner) that sort of reminds me of you.

    Happy new year, Sara. Meeting you has certainly been one of the highlights of my 2008.

  2. As I have been pondering this morning ... and after reading your blog and Ali Edward's ... I am motivated to do a word instead of all that the other encompasses. The word that keeps coming to my mind is simplicity. That speaks peace to me. Walking simply with God. Not getting all rapped up in the complicated. Breathing in life. Breathing in my family. Cutting out all that isn't a priority and focusing on God and His plan for me. Simplicity. I like that!

    Happy New Year Sara. You are awesome and I am glad to have run across your little corner of the world. You have blessed me! :)

  3. Oh always make me dig down deep. Sometimes deeper that I'm comfortable with. I will have to get back to you on this one.
    Blessings to you and Riley, dear Sara, BLESSINGS to you.

  4. I woke up with the word "JOY" on my heart. I don't know about resolution...but as I was contemplating the whole "happy new year" thing, Joy kept swimming in my head, so that's what I am going to focus on in the coming days. -Kristiapplesauce

  5. Devotion is a great word for the New Year!!! And just so you know, you're hand looks great! :) How do you keep your sweet, gorgeous dog's eyes so clean??? I have a grey toy poodle and I can't keep his even half that clean looking. So I also have a black one because you can't tell if his look good or not! Praying for your new year...Nancy

  6. Intentional. ;-)

    Which I've yet to write my post. haha! Today! Today I tell you!

  7. mine would be shalom.

    you know why.

  8. I love the word would have to be joy...and no telling what that's never what we think is it?
    I consider my online buds one of my richest blessing of 2008, and look so forward to connecting even more in this new to you and that smoochable pup.

  9. Resolutions have never really been my thing either; but the word idea is a great one. I started mine a few days ago.....guess I wanted to get a head start. Mine is believe. Blessings to your and your precious Riley. Susan

  10. @T: on a positive note, cats that are more like dogs is a good thing in my book :) I'm sincerely touched that the quote made you think of me; it was beautiful and a fantastic visual. Thanks, friend.

    @Debra: simplicity is fantastic. and as crazy as the world gets, it really does all start on the inside.

    @neas: dig, girl! :)

    @applesauce: well, you certainly always make me smile and laugh when you comment, but I hope your joy is the kind that reaches to your toes no matter what your circumstances.

    @nancy: i use a waterless bath spray on his face every day and keep the area around his eyes dry as much as I can. They can turn red pretty quickly if I'm not on top of it.

    @brandy: I keep checking for that post!!! :)

    @alece: shalom has become such a beautiful word to me now.

    @robin: we'll just have to have joy in the journey of finding out what it means to you this year...

    @susan: that's a great word; and so many ways to apply it.

  11. i didnt tell you this last night...

    but when i saw your hand in this pic - i cried a little bit.

    i did.

    my word: pursue....

  12. @tam: perfect word for you. i love all the different things one word can apply to.

  13. I don't make resoolutions for the very same reasons you gave. Just doesn't work for me.

    The one word focus...I think I can manage.


    That's it. Thanks for the challenge.

  14. You've got a lovely, thoughtful, intelligent blog here. Also, a very cute doggie. I have a little Yorkie whom I love.

  15. My word would have to be REDUCE . Yes, reduce my body so I can function again. And to reduce the clutter in my house and my life and be the person I used to be, with order in my life. I just lost my husband of 39 years on New Year's Eve.I loved him dearly, and for all those years he dominated everything I did. I would not trade those years for anything, but I am left alone now with just me and the dog, and I want to get back to a sense of order in my life. And for this I feel guilty.He has been my God, now I want to get closer to MY GOD. It has only been one week and I feel a burden lifted as if God were calling me back. And I am ready to answer now. Yes. I love your blog and your outlook on life. Keep the good stuff coming girl. Love Doris

  16. HI!

    I just found you by way of... Angie- ( Audrey Caroline, Selah) you know :)

    I love your blog, your super cute pup, your amazing Jesus loving heart, and I shall follow you, and pray.

    I hope you have a day different than the others because I am asking God to give you a special gift just for you today.